How about a New Democratic Party?

Back when I was a young reporter at the Toronto Star, Canadians formed a political party designed to protect the interests of the “working class.”

At the time, there were two major political parties in Canada – Liberals, who were heavily French Canadian, and Progressive Conservatives, who leaned more toward English Canada.

Both were unabashedly establishment oriented, but being Canadian, they were fairer and far more compassionate than American conservatives.

Traditionally egalitarian, Canadians would probably have denied they had a class system, but they did. If your parents could afford to send you to Upper Canada College, for example, you chances of success were greatly enhanced.

The formation of the New Democratic Party by Canada’s labor unions was a candid admission that a class system existed, and that the working class needed political help.

Over the years, the New Democrats have pressured Canada’s political system to introduce such reforms as free medical care for everyone, fairer wages and better working conditions, and compassionate welfare laws.

I  credit the NDP – and early leader Tommy Douglas – with much of the enlightenment that has occurred in  Canada during the past half century.

And I wonder whether it’s time for Americans to admit they, too, have a class system, and the working class needs help.

The Democratic Party of today seems based on the myth that America is a classless society, in which a rising tide lifts all boats. Party leaders seem to believe that you can please all the people all the time.

It might be a good idea to ditch the baggage-burdened Democratic Party,and create a new political organization candidly dedicated to protecting the interests of the working class in America.

They could call it the New Democratic Party.

More on the NDP

More on the Democratic Party

More on Tommy Douglas

 

Dump Trump? Not So Fast!

There are many reasons to rid America of the blight inflicted by the recent presidential election. But there’s one equally compelling reason to endure it.

Rid the nation of Trump and what have we got? Mike Pence.

Trump is a menace, of course, but Pence would be worse. The vice president is a truly dangerous human being.

To quote a tweet from someone identified as Dr. Kelly Sennholz:

Mike Pence is the walking personification of the banality of evil.

Not just evil, but the banality of evil.

Villains like Pence make evil seem normal. They look so ordinary, talk so ordinary, walk so ordinary.

And yet they stand for so much that J consider loathsome in human nature.

Bigotry. Racism. Xenophobia. Selfishness. Self righteousness. Lack of compassion… In short, the cold blooded inhumanity that so many of today’s “conservatives” embrace.

These are people who would never consider walking a mile in your shoes. They would much prefer to take your shoes away to teach you a lesson.

To them, that’s “tough love.”

What makes Pence especially dangerous is his skill at sugar coating his toxic doctrine. He does it all for your own good, don’t you see?

For example, as governor of Indiana, he advocated praying for the “conversion” of gays while depriving transgendered people of suitable toilet facilities.

No, Trump – blundering, clumsy, tweeting Trump – is less lethal than the man who would succeed him as president.

Our best hope is that as the involvement of Russia is revealed, the election loses so much credibility that a new election has to be held.

I know, it;s a long shot. But, as fas as I can see, it’s our best shot.

 

Trashy Night on TV

I confess. I watched the Grammy Awards on CBS last night. I thought Sandra would like it. But of course she did not. We  went to sleep about halfway through.

If there is any music worth listening to in today’s America, there was no sign of it in the Grammy Awards. If there is any creativity left in this worn-out culture, that was missing, too.

From the moment the idiot of a host tumbled down the fake stairs to the time the TV shut itself off to save power, all we saw was extravagance and pretentiousness, masquerading as showmanship.

Sorry Beyonce’ (picture above), you are no doubt a great talent. But that cloying stuff you served up last night was over the top.

In case any of my faithful readers missed  it…

Beyonce’  was clad head-to-toe in gold, like some Egyptian deity. She even wore a crown! And a veil!  Ghostly images of women and children danced around her and she cradled her pregnant body with reverence as she chanted inaudibly.

One critic raved that:

…she invoked images of both a goddess and the Virgin Mary.

Yes, as expected, the critics are agog this morning. But it was too much for me. I found the performance cringeworthy. (And I was put off by all those family members getting into the act… her mother, Tina Knowles, husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy.)

No Beyonce’, if you wanted to eulogize motherhood, pregnant with twins as you are, you might’ve been better off singing “Mother Machree.”

What made last night’s Grammy Awards even more depressing for me was the fact that I had just watched the Pebble Beach Pro Am.

Yes, Jordan Spieth found his groove, so that was something to cheer about. But the tournament, which used to be Bing Crosby’s warm and folksy Clambake, showcased all that reeks in golf.

The last thing I want to see on a golf course is Bill Murray dressed up as Farmer John (at right). And the clumsy old men (sorry Ms. Rice, you were the exception)  – the rich, clumsy old men –  who hogged the cameras, belong in Donald Trump’s world, not mine.

As for the announcers’ treacly  tributes to the folks who pay their way…. pardon me while I gag.

Everything that’s making golf unpopular in America was on display at that wretched tournament.

And, no, I don’t think the Monterey Peninsula looks beautiful in the rain and fog. I think it looks cold and damp.

Scenes like that are a dime a dozen back in Jamaica, where I grew up, anyway.

A different view of Beyonce’s performance

 

When Good People Do Nothing

Martin Luther King Jr. is among historical figures who reminded us that:

Evil only succeeds when good people do nothing.

The world is witnessing evil’s success as Trump and his gang pursue their agenda of plunder and oppression. But it seems this dark cloud might have a silver lining.

Good people are awakening to the horror their apathy has caused. My guess is that it will be a long time before Americans sleepwalk through another election.

Half of the country’s eligible voters neglected to exercise their franchise, and others left the boxes for President and Vice President blank. I am convinced that one reason was the assumption that Donald Trump could not possibly get elected, so why bother?

They were wrong. Trump lost the popular vote by an overwhelming margin, but just a few thousand votes – strategically distributed in an antiquated electoral system – won him the White House. America and the world are paying the price.

Not without resistance, however.

Across America, millions are protesting Trump’s abuses. And bolstered by age-old Constitutional protections, the courts are standing firm against his illegal orders.

While a recent poll shows his base of “deplorables” want Trump to have the powers of a dictator, the vast majority of “the people” oppose his overreach.

With his approval ratings at historic lows, nationwide resistance to Trump is growing daily.

There is even talk on social media of a general strike later this month.

Good people have decided they will no longer do nothing.

But while such demonstrations are valuable, the definitive response to aberrations ike Trump is still the ballot box. Let’s hope the painful lesson of November’s election is not forgotten when the next elections roll around.

Trump vs. the courts

More on the resistance

More on the strike

 

Troubling Signs

I’m sure you’ve heard that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” And I’m also sure you’ve noticed how America’s new president is imitating Vladimir Putin.

He and his minions are deploying a massive propaganda initiative, for example, based on “alternative facts.” And they relentlessly attack the mainstream media while silencing critics like Elizabeth Warren.

Are they also involved in violent “incidents” marring otherwise peaceful anti-Trump protests across the country?

Some observers suggest left-wing Anarchists are to blame.  Rowdy members of the protest movement wear black, carry identifying flags and display the letter A.

But you and I know you don’t have to be an Anarchist to dress like one. Wolves can wear sheep’s clothing. Russian funded troublemakers can wear any type of costume they want. This is still a free country.

I doubt Anarchists are  a significant movement in America today.  Remember those cartoons back when the world was young? Anarchists and their clumsy bomb making were laughed at even back then.

I find it hard to believe that the movement has survived underground all these years and is conveniently reemerging to give legitimate anti-Trump protests a black eye.

In today’s politics, nothing is necessarily as it seems.

But there are trends too obvious to miss. And Trump’s Putin-like predilection for suppressing opposition is one of those trends.

Of course, Putin doesn’t restrict his attacks to churning out abusive tweets  or shushing critics with obscure Senate rules. His methods are much more frightening.

Would Trump dare take his imitation of Putin to such extremes? Thankfully, there’s no evidence of that so far.

But who knows what a hothead like Trump might be up to?

Putin’s Russia

Blaming the Anarchists

Shushing Elizabeth Warren

 

Time for a Women’s Strike

Women have been aware of their secret weapon for centuries. But they haven’t been mad enough to use it. Until now.

The hidden truth is that women do the bulk of the world’s work. And provide the bulk of men’s entertainment.

They are expected to do all the things Peggy Lee sang about (but I bet she didn’t do) while keeping their girlish figure and a sublimely cheerful disposition.

They are bullied into being selfless and supportive. They are overworked and underpaid.  Scrutinized and criticized. Always falling short of the absurd expectations imposed on them.

And, on top of all that, they are harassed at work by men like Donald Trump. Obliged to laugh at ugly “jokes” and endure uglier physical advances.

As long ago as the Fifth Century, a playwright named Aristophanes figured out one place where women could hold men hostage – the marriage bed. In the play Lysistrata, the women of Greece decide to withhold all conjugal services unless their men quit fighting.

The women won of course.

I don’t know how far they plan to go this time, but  the women of America are finally talking strike. Apparently, they’ve had enough of Trump and all he stands for.

They marched a few weeks ago – at least half a million on Washington, 3 million strong across the country.

Now the organizers of the women’s march are planning a general strike.

And I say, what took you so long?

More on the planned strike

Click for Peggy Lee

 

Change You Just Can’t Stop

Some changes are forced, some are natural. And nothing can stop natural change when the time is ripe.

Who would have thought, for example, that our local power company would go solar? But there it was on TV last night, acres of solar panels belonging to dear, ol’ Lakeland Electric, producing power for us folks over here on Post Lane.

Meanwhile, the Trump regime is forcing change in he other direction, doing their best to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency, for example.

Real change tends to occur when it makes sense. And it tends to last. Forced change is fleeting at best. The EPA will live on long after Trump and his ilk are history. Americans will not put up with the destruction of the wonderful world God gave us.

And alternative energy is obviously here – and here to stay. There’s nothing the likes of Trump can do to “bring back coal.”

It’s a global tidal wave with China in the lead but with other nations not far behind. And Spain has come up with a way of producing solar power on cloudy days – a development that’s sure to boost the popularity of solar energy.

And solar power is just part of it. Many other alternative energy sources are proving economically feasible – from the wind and the tides to hidden fires beneath the earth’s surface.

I even read that pig farmers in Jamaica were cooking with methane gas produced from their pigs’ waste.

Lakeland Electric turned to solar “farms” because it made economic sense to do so. They also burn natural gas – when that makes sense.

It does not make economic sense to burn coal.

Sadly, Hillary Clinton had a carefully crafted program to fill the gap created by the demise of coal. It included retraining coal industry workers for jobs in the emerging alternative energy industry.

I guess nobody learned about Hillary’s plan during the campaign. We were all preoccupied with the grossness of that awful Trump – and the fake “news” about Hillary.

Lakeland Electric embraces the future

China’s solar program

The global tidal wave

 

When the Magic is Gone

In sports and in life, there is a magic that defies logic. If you play any sport, you’ve probably had a day when everything goes right. But when you try to recapture the magic on another day, you can’t.

Nobody knows why.

What makes a ball find the basket? Why does a putt drop? How do those wide receivers make such impossible catches?

Analyze all you want, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the laws of physics. Or any other laws.

It has to be magic.

Sadly, it seems Tiger Woods has lost his magic.

I am not disputing his reason for withdrawing from the Dubai Classic. I don’t doubt that his back is spasming.

But I suspect the spasms are less cause than effect. When the mind balks, the body can respond like that.

At this point, I have to give up on Tiger. He just doesn’t have it any longer. He’s like the tightrope walker who looked down.

I’m sure he still has extraordinary skill. And he might still be able to recover from his physical problems. But the magic is gone. When it matters, the putts don’t drop, the chips roll long, the drives veer into the rough. He is not “better than most” the way he used to be.

He may go down in history as the Greatest ever. His record will probably never be matched. But I’m afraid he never will play like the old Tiger again.

Tiger’s withdrawal

 

Invade Mexico? Again?

Donald Trump’s  threat to send troops into Mexico is an eerie reminder of the bullying tactics America once got away with. And it shows the kind of world a Trump-Putin alliance might produce.

Vladimir Putin has invaded neighboring states with impunity. I wonder whether that has anything to do with Trump’s aggressive behavior toward Mexico.

Could Trump get away with another invasion of Mexico? Would the world let it happen?

What could the international community do, anyway? Impose sanctions? That hasn’t worked so well with Russia, has it?

I am beginning to wonder what might now be possible – even acceptable – in this increasingly lawless world.

How would China react? Would the Chinese simply grab Taiwan? If not, why not?

That’s the way things were centuries ago, when European powers walked into Africa and claimed chunks of territory, when the British, the French and the Dutch gobbled up other countries at will.

And that’s the way it was back in the days of Standard Oil and the United Fruit Company. Uncle Sam took what he wanted. California, for instance. New Mexico. And Texas.

Is that what Trump means when he promises to make America great again?

A century and a half has passed since the US invaded Mexico. You would think the world has become more enlightened in that time, that such behavior would no longer be tolerated – or even contemplated.

But if Putin can annex the Crimea and invade the Ukraine and Georgia, who knows what the other super powers can do?

And what else does Putin have in mind? Is there a deal brewing that would let him seize the Baltic States and other neighboring countries in exchange for backing a Trump invasion of Mexico?

Trump’s threat

The way things were

 

Incoherent and Disoriented

I know the world seems to be spinning into the abyss as Trump spreads chaos (deliberately?) from his vantage point in the White House. But it’s impossible for me to make sense of it today as I fight my own personal battle for survival.

At about 3 a.m., I woke up to find myself surrounded by strange men in uniforms, men who kept asking me questions.

What day was it? Where was I? That kind of thing.

As reality settled in, I realized I was in our bedroom and I was being treated for insulin shock.

I had an IV in my arm. A sugar solution.

One of the men suggested Sandra get me a drink of lemonade and she added a peanut butter sandwich.

He said my sugar was 34 when they tested it.  Thirty-four! The normal range is between 60 and 120.

I had no recollection of being tested or of anything that had happened earlier.

Sandra said she woke up to find me incoherent and disoriented. She called 911.

The men in uniform were questioning me again.

Did I want to go to the hospital?

No, I did not want to go to the hospital. The hospital is the last place I ever want to go. Been there, done that.

So, here I am today, awake and aware once again, but wondering what on earth is happening to me.

I’ve been having bouts of low blood sugar recently. Waking up drenched in sweat, shivering and so on. Why?

Does it have anything to do with the ear/mastoid infection? The antibiotics I’ve been taking – intravenously and orally – to cure the infection? The recurring bleeding ulcer? The leaky heart  valve?

So much can go wrong at my age.

I have been so careful with my insulin. The only new thing in my diet is Glucerna. I checked the web this morning to find out if Glucerna could be making my insulin more potent, but I could find nothing conclusive.

Do you know? If you know anything, please share it with me.

I have so many questions these days, so few answers.

As for the Trump nightmare, is he deliberately provoking massive unrest to provide an excuse for martial law? And, if so, what then?

I’ll have to depend on you to figure it out.

I am left incoherent and disoriented by that, too.

More on Trump’s chaos